Convocation of UWA Graduates

Celebrating Graduate Achievement

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Convocation's challenges include maintaining meaningful contact with its many members, communication with them and the promotion and celebration of stories of the success of its broad local and international membership. The new Alumni Connect outlet presents just such an opportunity.

 Celebrating graduate achievement

Celebrating graduate achievement

In this edition we highlight the innovation of a company led by Councillor Dr Raj Kurup that has global importance to the provision of clean water. Councillor Kurup has recently won a national award for an efficient, more cost effective wastewater treatment.

With the United Nations estimating the global population hitting 9.8 billion by 2050 and 11.2 billion by 2100, treatment of wastewater is vital for the sustainable use of limited fresh water resources.  This challenge led UWA graduate and Convocation Council member, Dr Raj Kurup (Master of Engineering Science, 2002), to muster his best imaginative skills to look at an old problem in a very new light:  how to remove nitrogen from wastewater using less power and no chemicals as well as with much less start up time.

Over the past two years, Dr Kurup, the principal of Environmental Engineers International, independently developed and implemented an innovative and energy efficient process to remove nitrogen from wastewater.  Named the EEI anammox process, it reduces conventional power costs by up to 55 per cent and avoids the need for any chemical addition for nitrogen removal.

The process converts ammonium nitrogen into nitrogen gas using naturally occurring bacteria, inherent in an activated sludge treatment system.

Before this innovation, the anammox process required the addition of a bacteria culture imported from overseas and then the process took more than three years to achieve its steady state. However, Dr Kurup’s new approach achieved the full anammox process in about one year for a 0.5 MLD abattoir wastewater treatment plant.  This anammox system has been in operation since 2016 and has reduced the concentration of nitrogen in the effluent from 450 mg/L to less than 15 mg/L, well below the established standard of 45 mg/L.

For developing this exceptional innovation, Dr Kurup received the 2017 Engineers Australia Award for the Most Innovative Engineers, in the Consulting category.

Convocation congratulates Dr Kurup for his innovation, knowing that he is but one of our members who have made outstanding contributions towards a better world.

If your own story deserves such promotion to our graduate community or you know of another worthy story please send it to Warden@convocation.uwa.edu.au so we can celebrate that success with your fellow members and colleagues.